Events that affect the whole family, such as death, divorce, marriage troubles, and mental health issues, often lead to strained relationships between family members. For families going through such challenging times that cause stress, anger, or grief, family therapy can help keep things together. The family therapy counseling sessions are designed to get the whole family to work together and communicate better to solve conflicts. The sessions are led by a trained professional who uses various methods to help the family in therapy. If you are going through a tough time with your family and need to learn about family therapy, this article has all you need to know.
Family therapy is a form of psychotherapy designed to initiate change to fix strained relationships between family members or couples and nurture growth and development through the process. The therapist, usually a psychologist or a social worker who has had experience in the field, acts as a catalyst to facilitate conversation and improve the strained connections between family members. Typically, families seeking therapy need anywhere from 5 to 20 sessions, depending on their circumstances. The focus of therapy is not the number of people but the perspective and analytical framework. Family therapy is also an effective method to treat underlying mental health concerns of individuals, which may or may not have emerged due to the traumatic events in question.
Families experiencing difficulties from stressful events can benefit from family therapy. There could be several contributing factors that strain families such, as divorce, financial hardship, or the death of a loved one. In addition, individuals suffering from depression, chronic illness, substance abuse, or eating disorders can impact the entire family. Other problems common in most families, such as interpersonal conflict, communication problems, and behavioral problems in children, can also cause more significant issues for families.
Family therapy in such cases can be very beneficial for promoting collaboration and understanding between the family members to solve the problems as a group. For example, if a child has academic and social issues, family therapy involves removing contributing factors from the family’s side. As they better understand the problem, they can work together to solve it.
There are several counseling techniques used in family therapy which include:
From a theory developed by Salvador Minuchin, structural family therapy is centered on five specific principles:
Strategic family therapy uses techniques derived from several other psychotherapy practices. This therapy includes five phases – the problem stage, a brief social stage, an interactional stage, the goal-setting stage, and the task-setting stage.
Systemic therapy has its roots in what is known as family systems therapy. There is a range of family systems therapy that has contributed to the existing concept of systemic therapy. The shift in the recent decades in systemic therapy has been from linear causality to an approach that considers the social and linguistically influenced reality.
Narrative therapy is centered on the individual and encourages them to view their problem individually and use their skill sets to navigate their issues. It also involves reducing the trivial day-to-day problems so they have fewer hardships and better clarity. The main idea behind the approach is that everybody has a personal narrative about their lives. They can use this personal story to figure out their place in the bigger picture and recognize their own capacity to solve problems in their lives. The therapy clarifies everything for the narrator and helps in developing support that guides their journey.
Transgenerational therapy considers the broader perspective of the effect of problems that run through multiple generations of a family. The therapy involves observation of interactions between members of the family across many generations. The observations help the therapist to understand the main issues that affect the family groups. With the observation, the therapist can also predict potential future problems in the family group. Transgenerational therapy uses its concepts in tandem with other therapies that help understand the issues being addressed in sessions.
Therapy for communication problems between couples and families is common, especially when communication difficulties are explicitly stated. Communication difficulties can start for many reasons, including strained relationships, personality differences, cultural backgrounds, and personal experiences. The therapy addresses the problem in many different ways that suit the needs of the individuals. The therapist usually understands the individuals before recommending the communication mode. Some of the strategies involve mediated communication, opening lines of communication, and active listening.
Psychoeducation involves working with people with mental health conditions and their families to support and empower them through education. It is a practical tool against the stigmatization of mental health conditions and people who face those challenges daily. Psychoeducation has four broad goals:
Relations are complicated, and trivial problems in daily life can compound existing problems adding to the stress and strain the relationship further. Other problems that contribute to the stress include lack of communication, chronic illness, infidelity, mental health conditions, and cultural differences. There could also be other issues such as emotional distancing, lack of sexual intimacy, general lack of trust, and financial difficulties. Couples usually get to the point of relationship counseling when deciding whether to work out their differences or split and move on.
Couples and family therapy have several benefits such as:
Therapists work with families to initiate a communication channel and teach them effective techniques that do not lead to conflict.
Individual members learn to set healthy boundaries, which we must respect to promote harmony in the family.
Families after therapy exhibit a better understanding of each other and show healthy relationship patterns.
Families learn to solve problems without blaming the other for them. They are also able to better work through challenges.
Opening up long harbored feelings elicit feelings of compassion and empathy in the family members.
Family members learn to control their tempers in stressful situations or during conflicts.
Families learn to work with as little conflict as possible.
Here is how you go about finding a therapist:
There are four critical questions you need to ask the therapist:
These are some of the well-known family therapy activities:
Family therapy is designed to get every member to open up their feelings and discuss things that might otherwise be difficult or impossible. These therapies are helpful for families struggling with a range of difficulties, ranging from divorce to financial hardships and substance abuse problems.
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This post was last modified on August 19, 2021 7:44 pm
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